League of Legends Esports MSI 2020 Has Been Officially Canceled
The first international tournament of the year in the League of Legends esports scene is no longer happening, with a larger focus now being dedicated to Worlds.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic ruining many gaming events that were planned to occur in 2020, the League of Legends esports scene around the globe has largely been able to persevere as all leagues have shifted to playing games remotely via the internet. However, after a delay of 2020’s first major international tourney from May to July was announced earlier this year, Riot Games has today confirmed that this tournament is instead now canceled altogether.
Via a blog post on the LoL Esports website, Riot’s John Needham, who serves as the Global Head of Esports, announced today that July’s Mid-Season Invitational will no longer be happening. Each year, MSI serves as the first international tournament for LoL Esports and sees the top teams from leagues around the globe coming together to duke it out to see who currently stands as the best team in the world at the season halfway point. MSI has now joined Rift Rivals as two annual events on the LoL Esports calendar that have been canned as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on the modeling of our external risk advisors, however, it appears highly unlikely that either the global spread/impact of COVID-19 or the restrictive travel and public gathering policies responding to the crisis will abate significantly by the time of MSI’s current planned dates (July 3-19),” Needham explained. “With this model plus input from health authorities, local governments, regional leagues and teams, travel experts, and other stakeholders, we have made the difficult decision to not hold MSI in 2020. We believe this decision was necessary to ensure the health and safety of the players, teams, crew, partners, media, and fans.”
While MSI 2020 will no longer be transpiring in 2020, Riot is already doing its best to prepare for Worlds 2020, which will be the only international tournament that could be held this year. “We are totally committed to delivering the biggest spectacle we’ve ever produced in China to celebrate our sport’s 10-year anniversary,” Needham wrote. “While we must remain nimble with our plans, we are eager to celebrate everything that we love about League of Legends with a memorable Worlds 2020.”
Additionally, some slight changes to Worlds 2020 are also being made in light of MSI’s cancellation. As the two top-reigning regions in the world, both China and Europe will now be able to send four teams each from their respective leagues to Worlds later this year instead of the usual three. Korea and North America will still send three representatives while Vietnam will be allocated two teams. In total, Worlds 2020 will see 24 teams vouching for the right to call themselves the best League of Legends organization in the world.
For now, Worlds 2020 doesn’t have a start date, but the conclusion of the tournament is set to take place in Shanghai. As for the beginning of the Summer Split for teams around the world, the cancellation of MSI 2020 means that each league’s original schedule as it was meant to occur at the start of the year will now be adhered to.